|Bandera banner at Ukrainian torchlight nationalist march|
Last August The Left Chapter reported on how Canada had also allowed the sale of highly advanced sniper rifles to Ukraine.
This all comes despite and against an increasingly alarming backdrop of rising fascism and neo-Nazism in the country. As Lev Golinkin wrote of Ukraine in The Nation in February:
There are neo-Nazi pogroms against the Roma, rampant attacks on feminists and LGBT groups, book bans, and state-sponsored glorification of Nazi collaborators.
These stories of Ukraine’s dark nationalism aren’t coming out of Moscow; they’re being filed by Western media, including US-funded Radio Free Europe (RFE); Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and watchdogs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House, which issued a joint report warning that Kiev is losing the monopoly on the use of force in the country as far-right gangs operate with impunity.
Five years after Maidan, the beacon of democracy is looking more like a torchlight march.
|Swastika in a Kiev mall just prior to nationalist marches |
One would have thought that that alone would have given Canadian leaders pause. But there is much more.
Last year the Ukrainian army adopted the slogan "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!", which originated with nationalist groups who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII.
Pogroms initiated by paramilitary groups against the country's Roma have been met with indifference on the part of the police and authorities generally. The situation is so bad that the European Roma Rights Centre launched a suit in 2018 against Ukrainian police for failing to act.
As Newsweek reported in December "Ukraine’s parliament has officially designated the birthday of a prominent Nazi collaborator as a national holiday, while also banning a book that criticized another anti-Semitic national leader." That collaborator was Stepan Bandera who the post-Maidan regime has celebrated by naming streets after him and erecting a variety of statues in his honour, all while tearing down those dedicated to people who died fighting Hitler.
|New Bandera statue in Lviv|
In January Michael Colborne wrote in the Socialist Project Bullet that:
Ukraine really does have a far-right problem, and it’s not a fiction of Kremlin propaganda. And it’s well past time to talk about it.Perhaps it is time for Canadians ask why, in spite of all this, our government continues to arm and train the military of a regime with such dangerous and extremist far-right links and ties.
Ukraine’s far-right is like a hydra, with ugly heads that pop-up far too frequently. Just within the last few weeks, an American-born cabinet minister thanked a group of violent neo-Nazi “activists” for their services, a soldier was photographed wearing a Nazi death’s head patch right behind President Petro Poroshenko and almost 1,500 neo-Nazis and friends threw a two-day Hitler-salute-fest.
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